Improv II

To tell you the truth, I was a little nervous going into improv class today. I’d built up such high expectations of it in the week leading up to today, I was nervous I was going to screw up, freeze up, and be awkward as well.

But it went without a hitch. And I did participate in the Freeze Tag game today – surprisingly, it’s a lot easier to yell freeze and jump in on a scene when you have your back on it, and can only guess at what’s going on from the voices.

At the start of class, we played variations of the name game, which was mighty useful in helping to instil the names and faces. Afterwards, we divided into teams and played the machine game, in which we were given a random topic, and had 10 seconds to perform different motions related to that topic while keeping contact with one another, like cogs on a wheel. An example: If the topic was apples in the orchard, we had each to perform whatever we associated with apples. It was all very rowdy and messy, but hilarious. We then played the tangled hands game – I was in my element for this one, having played it countless of times before in the past. 🙂

We also practiced giving focus, as well as taking focus from one another. In this variation, someone would move/make random noises around the class until another person – anyone – decides to take over. The other person will then instantaneously freeze. It’s kind of like a teamwork building exercise for later improv performances on stage, where we learn to support one another during performances – when to let someone take the stage, and when to step up and relieve someone else.

Some other games we played: imaginary tug-of-war and imaginary volleyball. My team won the tug-of-war (we were surprisingly cohesive in deciding on when to let go, when to pretend to fall forward, and when to take massive steps back in pretending to haul the other team over the line). But we were too slow in the volleyball game, and often lost track of the ball halfway through. Hehe.

Afterwards, a bunch of us scurried over to the bar across the street, and knocked back a couple beers in a more relaxed setting.

So Chuck asked me why I decided to do improv. I told him I want to learn how to be comfortable with myself – improv is silly, and you have to be comfortable with yourself in order to be silly. I also told him that I wanted to learn to be spontaneous, and improv trains you to do that, to go with the flow and to think on your feet. To which he replied (and rightly so), isn’t it ironic? That you have to train to be spontaneous?

Haha, it is oxymoronic, isn’t it? But then, I suppose that makes me a true blue Singaporean. After all, we have to take creative classes to learn to be creative. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Improv II

  1. I do think it sounds ironic, but actually, it probably works. And “train” probably doesn’t sound very nice, and mayn’t be the most appropriate word (see later). But let’s face it – when you aquaint yourself with thinking on your feet more often, the more comfortable you become with adopting that frame of mind, and voila, you become more spontaneous.

    I do think spontaneity and creativity can be cultivated. But it needs to be brought out (which is what Improv probably does for you), rather than taught.

  2. i agree. it’s easier to perform too when you don’t have time to think about what you want to do, or worse, about how the audience is going to react to what you say/do. and improv ‘trains’ you (for lack of a better word) to forget thought and just go with your gut/with the flow.

    it’s refreshing, especially in this day and age, where we otherwise have to learn to censor ourselves in our heads before we speak.

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